Carbon calculator is launched

WSTA develops online tool to help importers keep track of emissions

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association has developed a system to help importers work out the size of their carbon footprint.

The online Transport Carbon Calculator enables companies to estimate the carbon emissions generated by bringing wine into the UK.

Importers fill out a short online form about the journey the product is making, such as country of origin, mode of transport, distance and size of the load then hit a button which adds up the CO2 emissions of the consignment. The calculator is currently unable to make estimates about products which are air freighted.

The tool has been spearheaded by the WSTA's logistics committee in partnership with JF Hillebrand and will be officially unveiled at the London International Wine Fair this month. It will then be free to access via the WSTA's website.

At the same time, the global drinks trade association FIVS is creating a more complex device - the Wine Industry Green House Gas Calculator - which will assess emissions from vinification, viticulture, processing and packaging. When the two calculators are used together it is hoped importers will be able to get a complete picture of a product's total CO2 output.

Kate Coleman, public affairs manager at the WSTA, said: "All industries are now taking a much closer look at their carbon footprint.

"There has been much uninformed discussion of wine miles over recent

years and this calculator is designed to provide wine businesses with a tool to easily assess the impact of their transportation."

Reap the benefits of going green, ACS delegates told

Retailers who make their businesses greener can save money and attract new customers, according to speakers at the Association of Convenience Stores' annual conference.

By driving forward the green agenda shops can "reap the benefits, not only in cost savings but in local marketing as well", ACS chief executive James Lowman told an audience of more than 400 people at the ACS Summit on April 24 in Birmingham.

Delegates were shown video case studies of retailers who have successfully introduced green schemes, such as the Budgens franchise store in Crouch End, north London, which donated 1p to a local Cerebral Palsy charity for every bag not used by customers.

Called Pennies for Plastic, the scheme raised £4,000 and saved over 850,000 bags - or 570 tonnes of C02 savings.

At the conference the ACS revealed results of an independent poll that showed 59% of consumers think that local shops should charge for carrier bags. "Customer's views and attitudes are changing - even very recently we could not have imagined that a majority of people would back a charge on carrier bags. Carrier bag waste is a problem that we can address and working together with customers we can achieve a dramatic reduction in their use and their impact," Lowman said.

The survey of 1,000 consumers also found that 64% would be prepared to pay more for locally sourced products. At the Budgens store in Crouch End, owner Andrew Thornton has created a local "product of the week" promotion and organises regular food fairs to showcase produce sourced within 100 miles of the store.